A Personal Assets Approach To Youth Sport

Authored by: Jean Côté , Jennifer Turnnidge , Matthew Vierimaa

Routledge Handbook of Youth Sport

Print publication date:  January  2016
Online publication date:  January  2016

Print ISBN: 9780415840033
eBook ISBN: 9780203795002
Adobe ISBN: 9781134469932


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The personal and social development of young people in sport is a rhetoric that is used globally by sport organizations, coaches and parents to promote sport among youth. However, questions surrounding What constitutes development? and How does development occur in sport? are issues that coaches, parents and policy makers struggle to agree upon. These fundamental questions have created several debates among researchers and policy makers in terms of how youth sport programmes should be structured. For example, a number of researchers see youth sport as the initial step in talent development programmes aimed at developing the performance of elite level athletes (e.g. Ford et al., 2009). Several sport programmes are designed with this primary objective and therefore focus on the development of fundamental movement patterns and sport performance skills. Such programmes are characterized by the long-term goal of achieving elite performance. Unfortunately, this is often at the cost of short-term gratification and enjoyment (Côté and Abernethy, 2012). Other researchers advocate that youth sport programmes should maximize time spent in physical activity as a way to diminish issues related to lack of exercise among youth (e.g. Janssen and LeBlanc, 2010). Accordingly, several youth sport programmes have been developed with the goal of increasing physical activity participation through sport and diminishing the impact of diseases related to inactivity and obesity. Finally, numerous researchers propose that sport is an ideal activity to teach and transmit positive life values to young people (e.g. Danish, Petitpas and Hale, 1993). Several sport programmes, such as Sports United to Promote Education and Recreation (SUPER; Danish, 2002), Play it Smart (Petitpas et al., 2004), The First Tee (The First Tee, 2005), Going for the Goal (Danish et al., 1993) and Teaching Personal and Social Responsibility (TPSR; Hellison, 2003) are specifically designed to achieve this objective of facilitating personal development through sport.

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